Know More: Potatoes


The potato is actually a tuber or root of the Solanum tuberosum plant. The potato plant has yellow and silver flowers. It is said to have originated in the Andes, especially around Peru, from where it spread to Europe through Spain and then to the rest of the world. The word 'potato' is derived from the Spanish word 'patata'. Did you know potatoes have eyes? The eyes of a potato are used to propagate fresh crop.


Mr Potato Head is a popular toy consisting of a plastic potato which can be decorated into a face using various attachable parts such as a moustache, cap and eyes. Invented in 1952 by George Lerner, the toy initially consisted of separate parts to be attached to a real potato. The plastic potato was added only in 1964. Mr Potato Head was also the first toy to be advertised on American television. Mr Potato Head has a brother called Spud and a sister called Yam.


The United Nations has officially declared the year 2008 as the International Year of the Potato in order to "increase awareness of the importance of the potato as a food in developing nations." The UN has also called the vegetable a "hidden treasure."


There are quite a few potato museums in different parts of the USA and other countries. The first Potato Museum was built in Brussels (Belgium) in 1975 and was moved to Washington DC. It is currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It consists of more than 2,000 artefacts including ancient specimens and pottery depicting potatoes, farming tools and curios made from potatoes. There are other potato museums in Belgium, Germany and Denmark.